Suburban fans of the raw food movement need not trek downtown to Karyn's or Cousin's now that Downers Grove has its own raw cafe. Eating raw (that is, vegan cuisine not cooked above 115 degrees to keep nutrients and enzymes intact) has become a passion for Borrowed Earth Cafe owners Danny and Kathy Living, a local couple who runs a monthly Naperville raw foods potluck. Call them neo-hippies if you will, but they're doing their part to proffer healthy eats in an eco-friendly space, complete with colorful bamboo floors and walls painted with zero-VOC paint. Surprisingly, the place has been filled with interested mainstream eaters since its Dec. 3 opening. You can carry out, order at the counter or sit down for a meal.
"The art of raw food is to create the taste, texture, smell and experience of its cooked counterpart," says Danny. So what you'll find on the menu are intriguing versions of mainstream food items, like pierogies made with sliced jicama instead of dough, stuffed with a garlic-nut mixture instead of cheese. Tacos are loaded up with guacamole, sunflower seeds and salsa, while falafel is wrapped up in a lettuce leaf rather than the traditional pita. Ice cream is made from pureed frozen banana flavored with cacao or berries. Stop in to check out the "Rawluctant Wall of Fame," where the Livings post photos of naysayers that turn out to love their food. And if you ask you why they picked their slightly-off hours of operation, they'll tell you: "Why not?"